Friday 28 December 2012


That was the day I heard that my grand daughter was born, she came a week early, as I had planned to be there when she was born, but she decided that she wants to come to our world early, I think she is as restless as I am .  I Looked through my hotel room window I saw a hint of a river, I can curse myself as I have been here for almost a week and never noticed it, so I decided to venture out and see more of this fascinating city. It was very cold, so I wore my heavy jacket, my gloves and my hat, and went for a walk.  It wasn't a river after all, it looked like a branch of a bigger river, surrounded by trees, shrubs and a lot of lovely flowers; the colours of autumn were fascinating with lots of leaves on the ground which got mixed with the rain and made it difficult to walk fast.  The zoo was on one side, and the lamas were sleeping outside their cages looking serene. few people were around that huge area, the Park that was on the other side was lovely with lots of spaces for picnics, chairs and benches everywhere and a lot of children play grounds. However the park had no one in it? was it the cold weather that deterred people from going out and having a great time, or was there few people living in that area? or was it that no one wants to enjoy the outdoors anymore? 

 The I saw a cyclist, and a woman walking by, so I pretended I am taking a picture of the area and sneakily took their photo, just to prove me wrong about not seeing anyone in this pretty area. 

This river had so many little bridges so people can go from one side to the other with ease, but no people were passing these bridges the day I walked on them! I am wondering if this is a consistent thing or were they trying to give me space to think and contemplate?

 I wish I had brought some bread to fee the ducks, as there were lots of them and with varying types too.

I bid a final look at the river, and promised it to visit again, I thought he was lonely and needed someone to talk to other than the ducks, the lamas and the birds.  I wished more children will play in that area and more people would visit.

 What amazes me about Berlin is the imagination of the people that live in it. You do not see an area without an artifact, or a sculpture, they do lots of things to cover an ugly area, like have sculptured roses to cover a building site, or a real airplane on top of the technical museum, or leave just a piece of a great wall that separated families from the same origin for years, or a gate from a different era just sitting in the side of the street waiting to be photographed by people like me who wonder around without a tour guide to stumble upon things that tour guides do not want to show to travelers 

When I finally went back to the hotel, I felt a sense of lightness, maybe its the long walk, maybe its the cold weather, maybe the water or the ducks, but its most certainly the friendliness of the things around Berlin. At that Moment, I noticed this sculpture, it means nothing to me, but to its creator it must mean the world.

The day of the sick

While enjoying the breeze in the garden, having my breakfast and tinkering with all the technology gadgets around me, I had this sad feeling about a day in this week. I was not feeling too well and decided that I will renew my medical card and at the same time visit my friend's husband who has been lying on his full of equipment bed since July.  In actual fact that day, I woke up with a strange feeling, I don't know how to put my finger on it. Maybe because my son had eventually left us to live in another country, maybe because its the end of the year, maybe because I am waking up with headaches everyday, or maybe because I haven't traveled for a while?  Not sure how to explain what was going on inside my head, all I know is that I am becoming restless and everything i seem to be doing sounds half baked!

This person was a professor at a university, and part of the Monday night group my husband plays domino with, he is always joyful, full of life and caring. That day though, he had wires stuck on various parts of his body, a lot of equipment around him, a personal nurse that keeps typing up stuff on the computer about his situation, a hole in his throat, needle stuck on his fingers, and a skin that is so white and at the same time almost colourless.  Of course the first thing that came to my mind was my dad when he died, the skin colour was also too white; I had never seen a dead person before, and seeing my own dad dead was not a memory I wanted to cherish. I miss my dad, he has been an inspiration to me, he is my retreat whenever I am thinking of something, or want to do something, as he always knew the answers to everything.

I sat with him talking about my kids, and showing him the pictures of my grand daughter, also the picture of my daughter in her engagement party (he attended that party) told him about my son who is gone to live in Bahrain, the party on new years day that he is going to miss. I also told him that he is missing the fun his group is having so he must join them on skype at least to hear what they say and how they play! he smiled, of course he cannot talk due to the hole that is drilled in his throat, but I understood what he was trying to tell me.  I told him that he has to be strong and fight whatever he is having and leave that bed ASAP.  I am hoping he does, and the colour returns to his skin. When I left the hospital I fought my tears, I didn't want to cry.

Then I went to see my sister's son.  He is not ill, he is making himself ill with all the silly stuff he is swallowing on the hope that he feels high? I wonder why kids these days are illusioned about what life is really is? do they think that it must be a comfortable life full of roses and red carpets? did they wake up one day and thought "ok, this is the day I am going to hurt my own mum and dad and try to kill myself by taking some medications that has a side effect of making me walk on the cloud?" what is lacking in their lives that makes them think that way? What is the secret of life that they are not able to find hence go out of it and live on a planet that is not earth? Why do some kids run for it and race everybody to become successful while others run to find the best tablet to be a zombie?

The day didn't end well, I still had the headache, still see my nephew sleeping in his bed instead of showing his talents in the classroom or at work, sill have the look of my friends's husband with his colourless skin in my mind.

When I woke up the next day, I didn't have a strange feeling, instead I wanted to live long and see for myself what is happening around me, maybe one day I will be able to help others to make a difference.  Maybe I will make a difference in others lives, Maybe others will make a difference in my life. All of these thoughts had vanished slowly from my mind as I have my work to do and my life to run too.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Banks are always right!

Where does the money of any bank come from!  Not a very difficult question and no it's not rhetorical.  Banks are businesses at the end of the day, they raise funds first from investors, friends, family or fools. And once the guarantees are provided, the banks will start an IPO; people like you and I buy the shares, bonds, debentures and other types of commodities.  Depending on what stage the bank is in, we can buy the share for a dirhams, and once the bank starts trading the price can go up or down in the stock exchange depending on how the general atmosphere is behaving. 

When the bank starts trading it attracts people like you and I again to open accounts and deposit our money in that bank.  The bank will also try all the marketing tricks to make us buy their products. So far so good.  And so far it doesn't differ from a normal service provider.  Trust is an issue, and the public will only believe in the service provider if they hear word of mouth about how great is the service provider and how fantastic is the service this service provider provides.  I always recommended my bank to others, because I never lost my money since I started to have my account with them. 

The great thing about banks is that the clients is loyal, as its so difficult to switch banks especially if the account details were printed on stationary and invoices.  So for that reason, it's a life commitment, other service providers do not share this commitment and loyalty from its clients. We can change shops, change supermarkets, change airlines easily, it depends on what these services give us, otherwise we will not be loyal to them.  Airlines now provided loyalty cards, others provided air miles but still, one would switch if there is a benefit to be gained.  What I am trying to say here is that banks have secured their clients loyalty even if it doesn't provide the best services to him or her. 

So the banks use our money to make (for itself) more money. And they grow dramatically because we are oblivious to one fact: the bank should look after the clients as well especially if they are SME's

Do they really look after the SME's?
Do they give low interest loans! Do they give facilities? Do they give finance for new projects with grace period? Do banks set on the board of SME's?do banks support SME's in as far as evaluating their new projects? Well I can Say with absolute certainty that none of this is provided to SME's.  The banks wait until the SME become a large organisation on its own, and then it provides it finance! in actual fact banks do all the leg work for large corporations and provides them with all the capital that they need to start in a new location or a new country. 

What do you think is the solution? You are welcome to give me some ideas as I have run out of them; the banks are a special breed and an aggressive one, no matter what you say or do they will never change their minds. The banks are always correct.

Saturday 22 December 2012

End of the world as we know it

You know what really puts me off? its the stuff people read and believe when there are millions of other stuff that people must read and must believe but they don't.  So what is it that people like to read? is it thrilling information, horror acts, vampire stuff, new age theories, The Secret, or end of the world theories.

Last year the world was supposed to end in disasters! a video was released and was watched by millions of people around the world, it scared the hell out of everybody including my family.  The originator of the idea said that New Zealand and many parts of the southern hemisphere are going to disappear.  My daughter and my niece study in New Zealand, so everyone was telling us to bring them back as its dangerous to stay there.  My husband (and that is a first, because he too believes in these things sometimes) said that millions of people are going to die, and you are asking us to bring our daughters back? the rest is of course is history, as the southern hemisphere is intact, and no one was hurt.

The first time I heard about the 21st of December is last week,apparently it is the last day of our world?  I checked this theory, and what transpired is amazing.  Of course I was more amazed of how much was written about it on twitter, facebook and the rest of the social media.  Some where very cynical,  some where dreading it and some who were indifferent.  I on the other hand just believed that it would be the end of the world as we know it.  Why? because anything that is going to happen tomorrow is unknown to us, no psychic can tell me if I will be alive, dead, rich, poor, healthy or sick tomorrow. If we are alive tomorrow, then tomorrow is when we will know what is going to happen to us, and not today.  No matter what all the theories say, the knowledge about our mortality or otherwise cannot be predicted with 100% certainty; we can plan our lives, but weather our plans materializes or not, its not something that we can bank on.

Last night before I went into my deep sleep I was thinking about this theory and others like it, of course you all know by now that I am a conspiracy theorist, so I have to make up reasons on why things like this are spreading like fire in a forest. I thought that when I wake up tomorrow I will search the net to see what was going on in the world, what was the CIA upto, what were the powers of the world doing when everybody was oblivious and busy thinking about their certain death on the 21st of December? of course I couldn't find anything of importance.  Also I had an idea!! we will chose a date in 2013, and we will spread it like fire in forests, that if men do not sleep with their wives, then they will wake up the next day without their equipment!

You must be wondering why did I think of this idea? well, I was watching a new movie last night about this older couple whose lives together became static, and the woman wanted to change it, so she booked a course with a marriage specialist.  The movie was amazing, I think every older couple should watch it, as it goes into the inner thoughts of each person and make them realize why don't they do what they were supposed to do, and why did they forget about their marital duties. The movie is a way to save marriages and reduce the number of divorces that are happening these days.

Maybe that is why the end of the world on 21st December didn't happen, because I had to watch that movie.

Anyway, below are some information about 21st of December theories just in case you were like me and didn't hear about it:

You can search the net if you want to know more, but if you agree with me,, just ignore it and read the good things in lives, talk to your children, have fun with your neighbors, travel and see the world's wonders.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Waking up at the first crack of dawn

When I say that I am not a morning person I will be lying, because in my 56 years of age I was out and about every day studying, working, travelling or having breakfasts with friends who are studying, working or travelling. So if its a weekend and I don't have any plans of outings or meeting any body (I always give meeting times and mix them up with other meeting times, which compels me to clear the mess by suggesting an earlier time which happens to be in the morning), I tend to stay in bed and sleep till like 12 pm. Now, whenever I do this and it's rare, I mess up my whole schedule, as I will end up sleeping late that day, and of course will not wake up on time and so on and so forth. 

My husband on the other hand is very predictable and his habits can be used to set the time!  he sleeps early (unless its a football match night or a domino night) and will always wake up very early. But he has to have an afternoon power nap!! He calls it that, to me I call it the not sleeping enough at night nap!!

What do I do in the mornings? Well, earlier in my life I will be out of bed, in the shower, wake the kids, change, they change, make sure their lunch boxes are filled, books in bags, they are ready to go to school and I am ready to hit the 45 kilometre drive in half an hour.  Some times I used to wonder why on earth don't I wake up earlier and give myself enough time to at least have a civilised breakfast? My breakfast, ladies and gentlemen is eaten while I drive, and I sip my cup of coffee and listen to the news on the radio at the same time, then I try to find a channel that will air Fairuz songs!! It's a must to hear Fairuz in the morning!  my dad did that, and I guess my kids will never do that, it's 50 cents or another one of those rap or blues singers.   

However, these days, it's a very lazy way of life, or I must rephrase that, it's a very relaxed way of life. I wake up and indulge in my shower, then I go down for breakfast with my two phones and IPad, check the messages on the phone and the emails, then open my IPad, check twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and facebook. Try to take a creative picture a day with my Ipad's stupid low res camera? Instagram it and see what others Instagramers are doing by looking at their photos.  Then if I have some time I will write something and hit the road.  I don't drive fast anymore as I am only going to my office, nobody is clocking my time. When I reach the office, I have to clean my desk, and then look around me, check the plants.  Don't have a "to do list", as to me they don't work! As soon as the regular working time starts, it's this person asks for an opinion about a student's file, and that person calling me to answer a phone call.  Then I look at my emails, and try to answer them systematically, some times starts from the oldest, and sometimes arrange by who it is from, and sometimes from what I just received and work my way downward? 

I hate routines, and I don't like to have an agenda! I never print my to do for the day list and I try to remember everything.  I know, you are going to tell me that it's dangerous and that I must maintain some order in my life, and make sure that every I is dotted and every T is crossed! That life is short, and if I die tomorrow people will not know what I have pending? Well, if I die tomorrow, who cares what I have pending? Life will go on, and everybody will be waking up either late or at the crack of dawn, and will carry on doing what they always did.  But I want to leave one thing, or one inheritance, do what you like to do, so you will do it well! And don't have a routine that is happening day in day out, it will be a very boring life, and you would want to change it or you would want to kill yourself.  Look forward and anticipate! life with no routine is full of great surprises.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Dubai, boom or doom?

Well, the signs are great, home prices are up, rent is up, a lot of new cafes and restaurants, lots of new shops, the new mall is going to be built with a 101 hotels, we are building up for the expo 2020, many new schools, new universities, and many new families that are moving to Dubai to avoid the Arab spring and the stuff that it had created! Do I mention more positives? Well we all got an SMS from Sheikh Mo himself congratulating us for the 41st anniversary of UAE's national day, in actual fact I got 4 SMS's as I have two phone numbers, so I got two in Arabic and two in English.  Don't forget that many new businesses had been established since the latter end of this year, thus the outlook is great. Congratulation Dubai, you have done it again!!  

Right, all of the above is great, however when you have to spend hours on the roads to reach your destinations, when you plan your meetings around the traffic jams' time, when you have to queue for hours when you go to supermarkets and shops, when you have to wait in a row of people waiting to be served, when your child is on the waiting list of some mediocre schools, and when your salary doesn't match what you have to pay in rents (everything has a time lag), then we cannot say that what we are experiencing is great? What shall we call this?

In Economics the researchers depend on statistics. Of course everyone knows that statistics are dangerous as numbers are taken in isolation and never been linked, who wants to have 1.21 of children are not happy in school? I don't want my child to be the 0.21  (I must say my grandchild) he or she are a whole human beings, so statisticians have to be careful and must link, correlate  and contradict. So if statisticians want to write the Dubai story, then they must look at both sides of the coins and portray to us in layman language what we should do to avoid the mishaps of a great economy.

It is the responsibility of the advisers to the kings to talk about the negative sides and the economic booms especially those that will occur when the curve is going up and when the curve is going down.  The advisers should not just be cheering the kings and telling them how marvelous their ideas are and how great the country would be, they should also highlight to the executors of the ideas that they should be careful and to draw a Gantt chart to show the good stuff and the peripheries that are going to result from those great ideas.  They were not hired to just be cheer leaders, they are there to check the blind sides too.

Suad Alhalwachi (Ms)
Director, Education Zone
Knowledge village
Building 2B, Office F30
Dubai, UAE
Postal Address
P.O. Box 214592
Dubai, UAE
Tel- 009714 3910258
Fax- 009714 3664512

Monday 3 December 2012

You and yourself

Yesterday I had a very long lunch outing. In actual fact I had a long day out.  First thing, I arranged some stuff in the garden, made sure that the roses and mandarins trees are in place, threw some of garden junk (that will make my kids day) and talked to my Chinese neighbour for a long time after giving her a portion of the fruit cake that I baked the previous night.  Mentioning the cake, this time I had amazed myself as its one of the best fruit cakes I had made for a while.  My neighbour loved the cake, and suggested that I go with her to China, and walk on the Great Wall. Of course, if it takes a portion of a cake to be invited to a Great Wall outing, then I will spend the rest of my life baking! How about that? She even suggested that I stay in her house!! That was a fantastic start for the day.

Then I met a friend for coffee and croissant who told me how miserable she is and how her husband is driving her insane. I told her off, I said that us the women are very creative. We can turn everything to our advantage,  if he drives you insane, just take your stuff and go to a library, at the same time book him a ticket to go to a resort. Maybe he needs it? She laughed when I said that you can also go with him to relax and enjoy your self. She couldn't believe me when I mentioned that all my resort trips are just a way to reward myself for enduring my husband!! Of course this morning was the worst, his body is full of red spots, I told him that its allergy? It's something you ate I said! I had to drag him to the doctors, who will be coming at 10!  No, he cannot weight till ten, then I took him to the pharmacist, who confirmed my theory! But he had to unprove the theory, that its just an allergy ! The pharmacist said that it must be some sort of additives in food and he needs an injection to clear it, he will not admit it, he must have eaten something and doesn't want to tell us. Men are a special breed, but what to do, we love our husbands.

Ok, now that I got that out of the way, lets go to my third outing (see, I told you that I had a long day yesterday, I stretched it to the limit), I went to see a husband and wife friends at their daily place, the Montgomery golf club, amazing place, it's like being in Manhattan and having a golf club in the same place, in actual fact it was like Manhattan and Central Park put together. The club was buzzing with people and kids learning how to play golf, my friends' kid had a perfect swing, I am sure he will be the next (is it still Tiger Woods?) Tiger Woods! I had the most perfect iced tea.

Then I moved to my lunch invitation; my friend's daughter had a baby three months ago, I was so ashamed of myself as I didn't go to congratulate her! Also my kids are returning from Bahrain in the evening so I thought I will go to her as she is close to the airport and then get the girls. She insisted on lunch; when I went, there were like a 100 people there! Lovely I thought! The gathering got smaller by the evening and we had lovely discussions and laughters in the garden , sipping tea and talking about Reiki, energy, Feng Shui, gem stones, Zen colours and the value of looking after ones self.

Apparently we have seven selves, I am not going to explain why, but basically this is why some people think that they are schizophrenic, their selves make them think that they are different people, so they feel that they have two personalities or sometimes more than two!  As soon as we make the person know that we must listen to ourselves, talk to ourselves and tell ourselves that we are fine and we love ourselves the schizophrenic person will be cured. Magic wand is needed here!! No I am not skeptic!.

So, I woke up this morning, I heard myself telling myself that I am a lovely person, I love myself, I treasure myself, my heart is great, my blood pressure is normal, my head is not aching, my legs are light, I am not overweight and I have a perfect health.and its the first day after one month and three days that I didn't see my granddaughter's face first thing in the morning, I love her.

Isn't that a great start to the day! This reminds me of the song, I tell to myself, it's a wonderful day!! Love it

Suad Alhalwachi (Ms)
Director, Education Zone

Saturday 1 December 2012


The word STEM doesn’t refer to a stem of a tree or a shrub, it refers to a new acronym that links all the important studies that are completely under developed in many countries.  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, I added the last but not least one which is ART.  

The reason STEM had become the talk of the millennium is because the subjects within it are taught in isolation, and links are not highlighted to the students.  For example a question can be solved by introducing all the methodologies that now followed by science by itself, math by itself and so on, and have one methodology that will help find a solution by interlinking the various fields.

Some scientists support broadening the study of engineering within each of the other subjects, and beginning engineering at younger grades, even elementary school. It also brings STEM education to all students rather than only the gifted programs.

On the other hand, Art is also mistreated in our countries, students who want to study art they have no background of how to hold a brush, how to mix colors and so on, and till the time they finish school they think that the university will teach them this. 

If we think of education as a factory, and the products are the students, then our schools are putting a lot of responsibilities on the universities to complete the “work in progress” that they dispatch on their conveyor built.  The basic ingredients (raw materials) are not mixed properly, hence, the lack of comprehension from the students’ side that a problem is solved by thinking of all the elements, whether its science, technology, engineering, math or even art.

Then another scientist added communication skills, and a whole can of worms is opened.  My idea is that the teachers should disappear, and we have facilitators who probe students’ minds and let them be savvy in problem solving by using all the fields at one go.
ع ت ه ر وفنون
هذه الكلمة لا تشير إلى جذع شجرة أو شجيرة، بل يشير إلى اختصار جديد يربط جميع الدراسات الهامة والتي هي غير متقدمه  في العديد من البلدان. العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات،  واناأضيف  علم أخيرا وليس آخرا وهو ART.

السبب في ان  
STEM أصبح من الاحاديث الألفية لأنه يتم تدريس  هذه المواد الدراسية  في عزلة عن بعضها ، وعدم تسليط الضوء على طريقة لتوصيل المواد ببعضها للطلاب. ويمكن على سبيل المثال ان يحل السؤال عن طريق إدخال جميع هذه المنهجيات من  العلوم في حد ذاتها، والرياضيات في حد ذاتها والتكنولوجيا بحد ذاتها وهلم جرا، في منهجية واحدة من شأنها المساعدة على إيجاد حل عن طريق الربط بين مختلف المجالات.

بعض العلماء يؤيدون توسيع نطاق دراسة الهندسة في كل موضوع من الموضوعات الأخرى، والبدء في تدريس الهندسة لأصغر الاعمار، حتى مدرسة ابتدائية. كما أنها توجب تعليم
STEM لجميع الطلاب وليس فقط الموهوبين. منهم.
من ناحية أخرى،حصل  الفن أيضا على سوء المعاملة في بلداننا، والطلاب الذين يرغبون في دراسة الفن ليست لديهم خلفية عن كيفية حمل فرشاة، وكيفية مزج الألوان وهلم جرا، وحتى في الوقت الذي أنهو دراستهم المدرسيه فأنهم يعتقدون أبن الجامعة وسوف نعلمهم هذا.

إذا كان لنا أن نشبه التعليم بالمصنع، والمنتجات هي الطلبة، فقد وضعت مدارسنا الكثير من المسؤوليات على الجامعات لإكمال "العمل الغير مكتمل" الذي وضع على حزام المصنع الناقل من مرحله الى اخرى. لا يتم خلط المكونات الأساسية (المواد الخام) بشكل صحيح، وبالتالي، فإن النتيجه هي عدم الفهم من جانب الطلاب لحل المشكلة من خلال التفكير في كل العناصر في نفس الوقت، سواء في العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات أو حتى الفن.

ثم أضاف عالم آخرعلم مهارات الاتصال، وبذا تم فتح  علبة من الديدان. فكرتي هي أن يختفي المعلمين  ويجب أن  ان نكون "ميسرين"   لسبر عقول الطلاب وندعهم ان يستخدموا دهاءهم في حل المشكلة عن طريق استخدام كافة الحقول دفعة واحدة.